Why Do Houses Have Two Floors? - Caleb Jones

If you live in a condo or apartment, this won’t apply to you. But if you live in a house like I do, let me ask you a question I’ve been asking for about 20 years.

Why does your house have two floors? Why does it have an upstairs and a downstairs? Does it really need two floors? Why can’t everything be on one floor? I’ve been house-hunting lately and this question as arisen once again.

Why is it that if you are downstairs and need something upstairs, you have to walk up a flight of stairs, grab the item, and walk back down the stairs again?

How about when you’ve gotten into your car in your garage, and realize you’ve left something…upstairs. Oh, that’s fun! Then you have to get out of your car and trek a journey of six miles to get the thing you forgot.

How about when it’s hot outside? Don’t you just love how your upstairs is always about 15 degrees warmer than the downstairs? But you have air conditioning, you say. Great. So you activate the AC and as soon as the upstairs gets to a tolerable temperature, everyone’s complaining that the entire downstairs feels like a freezer.

Don’t even get me started about all the trouble old folks have navigating homes with stairs.

Wouldn’t houses be easier if everything was on one floor? The GROUND floor? If you really want a basement, then fine, but why does your house have an upstairs? Is there any reason at all?

The answer is no. There is no reason…for you. Having an upstairs is a massive inconvenience for everyone who lives there. But there is a reason for the developer of the home. If he builds homes upwards rather than outwards, he can fit more houses on a particular plot of land and make more moo-la. He wins, you lose.

It strikes me as odd that something as important as houses are one of the few products people purchase that are designed to satisfy the seller rather than the consumer of the product.


6 Comments on “Why Do Houses Have Two Floors?

  1. I’d much rather have my house have a couple stories than not. Land is expensive and the more square footage you have of the lot, the
    significantly more money it will be. Houses aren’t that expensive compares to the lot.

    That’s why where I live (Vancouver suburb) every house is 4 levels including basement). We have no choice her though, 12000 square foot house in Vancouver is well over million bucks

  2. You’re talking about dense cities like Vancouver BC. Of course land is expensive in places like that and drives vertical residential living. I’m talking about everywhere else outside of dense cities. Suburbs, rural, etc. There are millions of homes in inexpensive suburbs and rural areas that are two or more stories. It makes no sense (for the homeowner anyway).

  3. Also roofs… so if you build a two story house you only have to pay for half the roof and foundation of a one story house with the same living area

  4. I believe Sean is correct.  I have a friend at work who used to be in the residential construction business for many years and she said it is cheaper to build “up” than to build “out”.  The smaller the foundation of the home is, the cheaper it should be.  I agree and I hate 2-story homes also.  I’ll most likely never be able to afford to have a brand new home built for myself anyways, not that I’d even want one, because I don’t like the idea of taking over land that is home to trees and animals, but anyways, I want a brick ranch.

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